James Barnor discusses being a photographic pioneer in mid-1900s Ghana. His show, Ever Young, appears at BAND Gallery for the next month -- an off-the-beaten-path must-see at Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival 2016.
I am currently on my bed, passed out, ready to cry. These 13 unedited images are the result of 6 days of running around, talking to strangers and, of course, shooting -- selected to best convey the story of Muslim women in Phuket's Bangtao Village. Though it was a huge issue to cover in a week-long workshop, especially without a translator, I have learned much about the process and have the framework for something bigger, possibly even a lighter piece with a companion article.
This series, which I'll share in better quality later, represents a week of sweat and frustration, but also newfound knowledge, respect for the medium of photography, and a great connection with the wonderful, helpful people of Bangtao: I won't forget this experience.
HUGE, BIG-ASS thanks go to Alex Masi Photography and Grzegorz Ostrega + Aleksander Bochenek at Workshopx for the challenging and super-fulfilling week (even if I was silently cursing them through it all). Also, kudos to the Ontario Arts Council - Conseil des arts de l'Ontario Chalmers Family Foundation for getting me here.
Tomorrow: I'm leaving the camera at home and hitting the water, kiddos. THIS GAL IS GOING ON VA-CAY.
Gasp! On my way to SE Asia, where I will be developing my documentary photography and storytelling skills, guided by the amazing dudes at Workshopx in Thailand. Super thanks to the Ontario Arts Council - Conseil des arts de l'Ontario and the Chalmers Family for this opportunity, and for supporting the arts and expansion of knowledge in general. This gal certainly appreciates it!
LAND OF THE HUMID: I'll see you in a painful 24 hours!
I was in The Beaches this afternoon (I cannot, for the life of me, call it "The Beach") and checked out this year's winners of the Winter Stations Design Competition, "an annual public art competition that challenges designers worldwide to reimagine Toronto's lifeguard stations as a basis for winter art".
Though I had a throbbing migraine, I still managed to enjoy some public art, chat with strangers, and spend dedicated time lowering my breathing rate down to that of the waves. I also scored a delicious Murakami book from a community library stand, so all in all, it's been a wonderful day.
One of my favourite portraits of Shantell, published in the Toronto Star. More photos in the online edition: http://www.thestar.com/life/fashion_style/2015/12/05/for-toronto-launch-saks-lets-artist-shantell-martin-draw-on-the-walls-field-notes.html
This November is spoiling us, weather-wise. Got to spend a lovely morning at a bunch of independent galleries and studio spaces in Bloordale -- Akin Collective, Mercer Union, Daniel Faria, and Xpace -- following school groups as they learned more about the possibilities of making art.
(Photos: Connie Tsang for CBC Music)
Buffy Sainte-Marie, winning the Polaris Music Prize 2015.
Well overdue, but the biggest shock of her speech came when she revealed her age: 74. If I can have a quarter of that spirit when I turn 74, I'll be pretty darn satisfied with my life.
Check out CBC Music to see a full gallery of highlights from me and the CBC Music team: http://music.cbc.ca/#!/blogs/2015/9/Sights-sounds-and-highlights-from-the-2015-Polaris-Music-Prize-gala
I was interviewed for FOODSTUFFS, this great new podcast on the culture and politics of food. I truly think these guys are on to something wonderful, so take a listen to the first episode + hear us chat while we munch on trailer-parky Chinese food. Following that, the mind behind the Scadding Court Community Centre fishing pool, something you should definitely know more about.
ASIA X CANADA - THE MOM-AND-POP FOOD STOPS (2007-ONGOING)
Chinese immigrants made their mark on Canadian food history when they were forced to embrace an entrepreneurial spirit as a way of fighting rampant discrimination and abuse from closed-minded locals. After the mining and railroad boom, these men, largely rejected from anything outside of the lower-rung domestic realm, opted for self-employment, pooling funds from their savings, and opening restaurants wherever they could: they travelled from west to east, and established Main Street diners and dives across the country, from west-coast mountain-view villas to quiet crossroads in rural Saskatchewan and blue-collar neighbourhoods in Toronto.
This group of business-operating newcomers initially arrived from southeastern China, but later came from neighbouring Vietnam, Korea, and Taiwan. But no matter their background, these particular entrepreneurs all made do with what they had, moving into largely uni-cultural communities for golden opportunities, often taking over existing Canadian diners -- sometimes without any restaurant experience -- and quietly introducing gateway "ethnic" Chinese fare into their new home's largely one-dimensional palate. The food was unique enough to be daring, but plain enough to please the pickiest of eaters.
With their Canadian-born offspring holding no interest in taking over the family business, and with the advent of large-scale Chinese buffets and more adventurous tastes/new cuisines entering the foodie fray, these small, family-run restaurants no longer have the monopoly pull on the novel dining experience they once had. These mom-and-pop restaurants now face a choice: they can either make subtle changes to adapt to a perpetually shifting dining culture or slowly disappear from the Canadian landscape altogether, leaving an essential part of Chinese and Asian-Canadian history to disappear as well.
ASIA X CANADA - THE MOM-AND-POP FOOD STOPS is my mission to document these mom-and-pop food stops across Canada, as they currently exist, for an ongoing photo project, with a particular interest in those found in small-town Canada. If you know of anyone who fits the bill, no matter what province or territory, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A photo profile on Sheba Legend, '80s club DJ and current founder of MasculineUs, a media project to document and support women who embrace their masculine position.Read More
I have clearly become the obsessed monster I never thought I'd ever be: I can't stop thinking, talking, or raving about you. Siiiiiigh. Here's my ode to you and our three glorious, epic weeks together.
'Til we meet again,
HELP: I will be in NYC late next week, and my main photo subject has flaked out on me! [BOO, HISS]
As most people know, I have a hard time travelling without a project in mind, so I'm on the hunt for a unique New Yorker who deserves attention. I'm most fascinated by religion (the more polarizing, the better), the elderly, lifetime hobbyists, quirky obsessions, and unique skill. Whatever the subject, he/she must be excessively passionate about something. It doesn't matter if we hold the same views, either -- in fact, could be more interesting if we don't. Previous subjects have run the gamut from a hardcore Christian who built a treehouse for God, a senior square-dancing group, a shoemaker, an Elvis impersonator, a gothic jewellery artist, a church bell ringer, a dog rescuer, to a shopping cross-dresser.
The person or group must be open to me hanging out with them for a few hours and having a good ol' fashioned chat. I am NOT looking for models who just want a pretty portrait shoot. (Yawn.) I just want to hang out with someone awesome. (Yay!)
Can anyone point me in the right direction?
Another great edition of Treehouse Talks at the Toronto Reference Library, this time featuring Jillian Kohler (Director, Global Health, at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs), Marshall Pynkoski (Founder, Opera Atelier), and Nicholas Parker (Global Sustainability Entrepreneur and Investor).
Long story short: Daniel Lanois is incredible.
On an evening in March 2011, I'm in New Orleans. I'm on my bike, lost, and I stupidly stop on an unlit residential street to get my bearings. A pick-up truck rolls by and the driver, a burly elderly man, stares as he passes. Shit, I think. Go on, dude. Nothing to see here. I wave him forward. This doesn't work; the brake lights engage. Damn.
"Are you lost?" he asks.
I lie. "No. I'm just taking a break. I've been biking all night."
"You know, you shouldn't be wandering here on your own. This is New Orleans." I'd heard that time and time again. "This is New Orleans." I admit I'd grown tourist-complacent and I suppose I needed to hear this again, but I didn't want to hear it, especially from some stranger on the street.
"I know," I said, smugly, ready to roll forward. "I have to go."
"Okay, just remember this isn't a safe place. I've seen a lot of things happen here."
Not something you should say to a single girl on an unlit street, dude.
"Hey, you should really come to my bar. It's right at the corner there. You see the light? It's a safe place, and we'll get you headed in the right direction."
Here we go. "Yeah, I don't know about that. I gotta get back to my friends."
"Well, okay, but I've owned this bar for a long time, and I know everyone here. Just saying there's some good people down there, good music, and good drinks. We'll get you home safely."
I pause, in half-pedal.
"It's right down there."
Long story short: my curiosity wins that evening. I spend the night with Melvin and his friends, sitting at the bar, downing free American beers, discussing the music industry with a hard-of-hearing elderly blues man named Guitar Lightnin', listening to tales from the bartender and the Honduran/Bulgarian barflies, and observing Melvin work the room, showering compliments on the elderly ladies, twirling them on the dance floor, and kissing them on the hand as he parted. They squeal.
It's been a while, but I learned Melvin actually passed away only a month after we met in April 2011. I'm crushed and spent my time wondering if all this was real. Luckily, I have the pictures to remind me of those moments, fill in the blanks.
Melvin was true to his word: good people, good music, good (well, at least free) drinks. Above it all, I felt absolutely safe and I left feeling ten times better about the world, and really, isn't that the main thing you want in a friend?
Here's my little public thank you, Melvin. I'm late to the game, but I salute you, forever. RIP.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all my special people who came out in support last night at the Photographers Without Borders exhibit and magazine launch (and a high five to those I unfortunately missed). I love you guys. Seriously. Immensely. For those who couldn't make it out, I love you too -- the photos and magazine will be up and available at Hermann & Audrey until the 19th, so do stop by or just purchase a copy online!
Hermann & Audrey
1506 Dundas Street W.
It was slightly chilly for a spring night, but I'm just happy that I'm back on my bike again and out to explore. But question: why the hell do we have two sports teams with the same name? I think it's doing the baseball club more damage than good.
I don't do many weddings at all, but when the couple is fun and has a good sense of humour, I'm game. I really lucked out with David and Ameeta, here.
And really, this wasn't a big chore: I'm easily swayed by bright colours, cultural traditions, and non-stop Indian food, so this one hit all the high notes: all weddings should be Indian weddings, really. As a big bonus, they're one of the easiest places to get enthusiastic guests out on the dance floor without pulling teeth (or shoving bottles of wine down someone's throat).
This mirror selfie is acceptable, only because it will not appear within arm's reach of any dating site.
Taken at a pitstop in Erie, Pennsylvania, at the town's famed Lawrence Park Dinor.
Though you've changed greatly in the last few years, you're still my good ol' stubborn mama, and I love ya, woman.
I thank you for not only shooting me out into this crazy world but also for being a trailblazing lady who was fiercely independent in an era when few women were, ran her own business in a new country with only a primary school education, fought for her personal rights and never, never took any bullshit, made unrivaled meatball curries/aloo gobi/parathas, grotesquely danced in her underwear in the middle of the night, and made the lewdest jokes you'd never want to hear from your mama's mouth. So in honour of your present and past self, Happy Mother's Day, Ma; I thank you for this and giving me the foundation I needed to morph into the me I am today.
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, ALL.